President of the Cambodian Red Cross Bun Rany released a statement ahead of International Day of the Midwife on May 5, calling for continued investment in midwifery, to ensure the present and future health of the Cambodian people.

“On May 5, Cambodia and the world will jointly celebrate National-International Midwife Day. This year’s theme is ‘Together Again: From Evidence to Reality’.

“The objective of this celebration is to raise awareness about the importance of maternal, infant, and child healthcare in general, and in particular for Cambodia,” she said.

She explained that this year’s theme focuses on the need for the collective commitment of all WHO member nations to ensuring an adequate number of midwives.

“To reduce maternal, infant, and child mortality, there must be ample midwives, nurses, and doctors available to assist women during childbirth. This will help prevent diseases and will reduce mortality rates,” she said.

According to the most recent Cambodian demographic and health survey, the birth rate by skilled midwives increased from 34 percent in 2000 to 99 percent in 2021-22.

The maternal mortality rate has also decreased significantly, from 437 per 100,000 births in the year 2000 to just 154 in 2021-22. Additionally, the neonatal mortality rate has dropped, from 37 per 1,000 births in 2000 to 8.

Finally, the under-five mortality rate has experienced a reduction as well, dropping from 124 per 1,000 in 2000, to just 16 in 2021-22.

Bun Rany appealed to all relevant national and international institutions to provide further investment in midwifery and related services.

“We should not be satisfied with the progress made thus far.

“I also call on leaders, civil servants, health workers, and service providers to support the implementation of government policies that will attain its objectives,” she said.

She insisted that midwives should receive regular training to update their knowledge, so they could be provide prompt and effective care.

“Besides offering childbirth services, midwives have the crucial responsibility of ensuring the well-being of women throughout their pregnancy and the postpartum period. This includes providing education on nutrition, caring for infants and young children, as well as facilitating access to appropriate desired contraceptive services, and also screenings for breast or cervical cancer and support to women who are the victims of gender-based violence,” she said.

According to the Cambodian Midwives Council, from 2012 to present, approximately 4,100 midwives have registered across the Kingdom. There are also a total of 3,731 health workers who serve as primary level midwives.